The army in Lebanon has moved into two districts of the northern city of Tripoli to quell deadly clashes between sectarian groups for and against the neighbouring Syrian government.
Rival factions exchanged gunfire and grenades after a demonstration in the city’s Nour Square on Friday in support of the uprising in Syria.
Security sources said between four and seven people were killed and at least 48 wounded.
“Today the situation is better, thank God”, said one resident. “The army has intervened to secure the place and we were able to go down into the street. We were forced to stay home yesterday”.
The uprising against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has been watched carefully from Lebanon where sectarian tensions have in the past been ignited by events in Syria.
One of the districts involved in the clashes is predominantly Sunni Muslim, the other is mostly Alawite, the same as sect as Assad.
In a statement the army said it has now returned the situation in Tripoli to normal and is enforcing a ban on residents carrying guns. It added that the military will not be lax with those who toy with security.